City Council Minutes – November 5, 2018

Madrid City Council
Regular Meeting
November 5, 2018
5:30 p.m.

The City Council meeting was called to order at 5:32 p.m. with Mayor Tom Brown presiding.

Present at Roll Call: Nate Samples, Steve Burich, Marvin Ostrander, Chuck Rigby and Lane Shaver.

Other City Officials Present: City Clerk Mary Jo Reese, Deputy City Clerk Deb Biegger, Public Works Director Scott Church, Attorney John Flynn, Public Safety Director Rick Tasler, Library Director Angie Strong, Park Board member Jolynne Carlson and City Treasurer Don Fatka.

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve the agenda for November 6, 2018.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

No Councilmembers declared a conflict of interest with any agenda item.

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Samples to approve the City Council Meeting Minutes of October 15, 2018.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Ostrander, seconded by Councilperson Rigby to approve the claims for November 5, 2018 in the amount of $ 284,214.60. Councilperson Burich questioned a payment to OSHA from the park budget in the amount of $3,325.00. Scott Church explained a part time employee was injured while cutting a branch from a tree in the park. The incident triggered an OSHA investigation and the City was fined for not providing adequate training to part-time employees. Mayor Brown questioned charges on the claims report for Fall Fest. Reese stated the claims will be paid for with funds from the cabin fund.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Ken and Jennifer Williams, owners of Wilcox Printing and Publishing, approached the Council. Ken Williams read from a prepared statement regarding a comment posted on the Madrid Media News Facebook page by Madrid Police Chief Rick Tasler. In the post, Tasler accused the newspaper of not allowing him to publish his letter to the editor supporting candidate for Boone County Attorney, Stephen Swanson. Williams feels the account of the incident is not correct as the newspaper does not publish such letters of endorsement from individuals. On the advice of their attorney, the Williams issued a cease and desist letter to Rick Tasler, Council members, the Mayor, and the City Attorney. The Williams requested the post be taken down, and that the police chief issue a correction to the false statements.

Attorney John Flynn reminded all employees the city does have a social media policy. He will review the social media policy and issue a legal statement concerning the matter once his review is complete.

Chief Tasler stated he believes all the facts he posted on social media are correct, however he has worked out his differences with Ken and Jennifer Williams.

Mayor Brown stated Chief Tasler’s post on social media does not reflect his feelings as the Mayor of Madrid, or the City of Madrid. He feels the city’s current social medial policy should not be within the Code of Ordinances of the City, but should be a separate policy for the employees of the City.

Ed Jeffress of 501 South Main Street requested information on the budget for sidewalk repairs. Mayor Brown advised he will speak with Scott Church concerning the matter. Jeffress also commented on a stretch of sidewalk that is paved with bricks. He would like the City to force the property owner to replace the sidewalk. He also feels the city should oversee any water line replacements done within Madrid. Mayor Brown asked that Jeffress meet with him and Church to discuss these matters after the meeting.

Jessica Geneser of 505 South State Street approached the Council to voice her concerns with the handling of a civil harassment issue and child abuse report. She stated Police Chief Tasler and  his officers did not follow the law concerning mandatory reporting by failing to report information to Child Protective Services. Geneser reported the information to the Boone County Sherriff as she did not feel the case was being properly handled by local law enforcement officials. Mayor Brown asked that Geneser file a formal complaint through the City of Madrid complaint procedure concerning the incident. Geneser stated she intends to follow through legally if the matter is not handled with the Police Department. Geneser will file a formal complaint. John Flynn stated he will contact Geneser’s attorney to facilitate conversation concerning the matter.

Councilperson Burich asked the audience present at the meeting to refrain from comments during Council meetings as these type of things cause divide within the community.

Chief Tasler stated Geneser needs to sign a slander statement as her dialog is untrue, and he has the entire incident on film.

Travis Risvold, president of the Madrid Area Chamber of Commerce approached the Council to request of designated local option tax funds to the Commerce. He pointed out several recent accomplishments of MAC. Risvold stated MAC is currently in the process of hiring a MAC representative. He reported the Christmas Extravaganza will be held on December 1st starting with a vendor show at the elementary school, and ending with a parade at 5:00p.m.

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Samples to approve a payment in the amount of $14,407.00 to Joe Clark Construction LLC. The invoice covers the cost to replace the door, install an awning and other miscellaneous items. The cost is partially covered by a grant in the amount of $5,000 which was received from Boone County Endowment.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Public Works Director Scott Church and City Clerk Mary Jo Reese discussed the future of the SAM center as they feel the building is under-utilized. Costs to maintain the building are high, with little use. Mayor Tom Brown suggested seeking feedback from the community regarding the matter. Deputy Clerk Deb Biegger will collect information from Pinkie Gibbons regarding expenses and usage and report back to the Council.

Church advised the City of Madrid water department received the Water Fluoridation Quality Awards for 2017.

Church reported upcoming public works projects include street patching, hydrant flushing, installation of brine tank at the shop and preparing vehicles for winter use. The salesman will be shut down this week, and the restrooms at the park and softball fields are being closed. Church also reported the resurfacing project on East 6th Street is complete as well as the drain repair at the corner of 6th Street and State Street. Church explained the process he uses to patch the streets.

Jerry Lowe asked the Council if there was any consideration to banning open burning in the City of Madrid. Mayor Brown stated there is a process that can be followed to change the open burning policy.

Ed Jeffress of 501 South Main Street also voiced his support of banning open burning. He stated he is a bicycler and wants public works to smooth off the areas of new patches on the streets. Church responded that those patched areas will smooth out over time, and he plans to continue filling holes as weather permits.

Mayor Brown asked that Church consider safety and sidewalks if the proposed upgrade of streets around the elementary schools were to be approved by the Council.

Library Director Angie Strong reported on recent programs including early out movie day and Trick or Treat night. She also reported new chairs and  lap top carts have been received and are in use at the Library. Virtual reality headsets will arrive soon. Strong is planning staff training and trustee training this month. Upcoming programs include early out game day, Pinterest party, adult coloring and family board game night.

Jolynne Carlson of the Madrid Park Board reported bad weather affected Fall Fest. Carlson was happy with the turnout for the event which raised over $2,500. Donations continue to come in for the project. Next steps for the Cabin Project include grant writing and different design options. Carlson plans to meet with committee, and community members to plan for 2019. A local citizen stated the cottonwood stump at Edgewood Park is dangerous and needs to be removed. Carlson stated there is a safety concern with the stump at this time. Councilperson Samples asked that the matter be placed on the agenda for the next City Council Meeting.

Scott Maddux of the Madrid Fire Department reported on upcoming EMT classes. He also wished to congratulate the Cross-Country Team for their recent state rankings.

The matter of the tanker truck repair estimates was tabled at the request of Fire Chief Jim Murry until the next City Council meeting.

Randy Dalton of the Planning and Zoning Commission stated the developers of the proposed Tiger Run subdivision are requesting a vote of confidence from the Council in order to move forward with the project. Jason Springer, developer of Tiger Run would like to see the area zoned as a planned development. He is unable to obtain the remaining land he needs from the Madrid School District without the rezoning support of the Madrid City Council. Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to give preliminary support for zoning change of Tiger Run. Official rezoning will take place at a later time, following state laws.

Ayes: Samples, Burich, Rigby, Shaver       Abstain: Ostrander        Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve the renewal of Blue Cross Blue Cross Health Insurance for employees. The cost of the insurance will be decreasing for 2019 by 4.51%.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to approve FY19 Local Option Sales Tax donations by consent agenda to Madrid Area Chamber of Commerce – $2,000, TIPS Youth Basketball – $200, Iowa Arboretum – $1,500 and Youth and Shelter Services $750.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Ostrander to approve Resolution #15-18-19, “Tax Increment Financing Report.”

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Rigby, seconded by Councilperson Samples to approve Resolution # 16-18-19. “ Urban Renewal Report”.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

The Council considered an offer to purchase city owned property at 118 North Kennedy Avenue from Steve Magnani. John Flynn explained Magnani offered to purchase the property for $55,000 less a credit for asbestos removal and less a credit to demolish the house. The final net amount to the city would be around $25,000 after fees. Real Estate Agent Don Lincoln indicated the potential buyer has no current plans for the vacant lot. Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to make a counter offer to Steve Magnani for a purchase price of $55,000 minus a credit for asbestos removal of $13,607.00.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Ostrander to approve a payment of $998.00 to J & D Computers for the purchase of Adobe Reader Pro software. Another request from J & D in the amount of $3,366 was tabled until more information could be received on the details of that invoice.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to approve a pay increase to Nick for from $20.41 per hour to $21.02 per hour. Furness would normally have received an increase on July 1, 2018, however he was not employed by the City of Madrid at that time.

Ayes: All Present                                                                 Motion Carried

Attorney John Flynn summarized a recent request from the Council to investigate an incident between Police Chief Rick Tasler and the Madrid Register News. He will also investigate allegations made by Jessica Geneser against Rick Tasler and the Madrid Police Department, and a letter received by Nancy Christensen who also filed a complaint against Rick Tasler.

Councilperson Samples stated he was contacted by a citizen concerned with the amount of time the computer upgrades are taking, as citizens cannot contact their councilperson via email. This same person was concerned with Rick Tasler’s Facebook post concerning the Madrid Register News. Samples stated there was a delay receiving the new equipment and additional security deficiencies were analyzed and upgraded. Citizen access to email contact with councilmembers will be reinstated this week.

Councilperson Rigby also received comments concerning the Wilcox Publishing and Tasler issue. He thanked both parties involved for handling the situation.

Councilperson Shaver asked that everyone be considerate of their neighbors during open burning season.

Mayor Brown read a letter from HIRTA requesting a volunteer to represent Madrid as a voting member on the HIRTA board. Mayor Brown asked for volunteers from the public to contact City Hall by November 15th.

Ken Williams of the Madrid Register News commented that social media can hurt people and feels the leaders in the community need to lead by example concerning social media.

Don Lincoln thanked John Flynn for his comments encouraging everyone to get along.

Mayor Brown advised he received some comments concerning the updates to the city ordinances boards and commissions sections. The City Clerk and Councilperson Samples will be meeting to work on a revised boards and commissions ordinances.

Councilperson Samples stated he will be finishing up Councilmembers tablet preparations and they will receive their tablets for council use next week.

Mayor Brown reported he has requested bodycam policies from the City of Boone, City of Ogden and Boone County Sherriff’s office. A policy for Madrid’s bodycam usage will be developed.

Mayor Brown commented on social media usage stating he has been criticized for not commenting on social media regarding issues in Madrid. He stated he is disgusted with what he has seen on social media. He asks everyone who participates in social media to think about how their comments and posts affect Madrid and to remember posts are often misinterpreted. Mayor Brown stated he has deleted all access to social media and asks that no one send him links to social media or screen shots of posts. He will not respond to these items. He does not think there is a divide in the community; that there are fewer than 1% of the population that are participating in negative social media, which is damaging the other 99% of the population. He asked that everyone think about what they are doing before they comment or post on social media.

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to adjourn the City Council meeting at 8:13 p.m.